Science Kooks
and amateur theoreticians

I   
have often read that well known scientists are deluged with unsolicited mail originating from cranks, crackpots and sincere amateurs and have always been under the impression that they numbered in the tens of thousands. My experience on the internet has caused me to downgrade that estimate considerably.

Let us compute

My site (such as it is now) gets roughly 10,000 visitors in a year ... 20 - 40 per day mostly in the cold months when people are indoors. In three years I have had perhaps 25,000 people come to see my offerings of which the vast majority (judging by my web stats) never get past the index. Of those who do I cannot say how many are returns (probably a lot). So there is damn little interest in general in the subject of how the universe came to be.

Not because they don't come to my site either. One could put any html document on the web, give it good metatags, put it on the search engines and wait for hits. Your page just might say "Hah, fooled you" and nothing more. Yet you would still get some idea of how much interest there is in that sort of subject. Anyone interested will go through virtually all the relevant sites eventually (with the possible exception of porn sites).

Now, since everyone on earth interested in science knows that the web exists ... and since anyone interested enough to put time into formulating personal theories can get on the web (it's really cheap ... if you wanted mag wheels on your car -real bad - you'd find the bucks to get 'em) ... it must be that anyone in the western world with a theory is already on the web (with few exceptions, say 1-4%).

So, based on my surfing knowledge which is extensive enough in this narrow field, I can give a fair estimate of just how many amateurs-kooks there are on this planet and even how much time they have put into their ideas.

Here it is:

    Total number of amateurs who spent time
    thinking up some original idea

  • Couple weeks = ~ 2000
  • Months = ~ 200
  • Few years = ~ 50
  • Few decades = ~10
  • Total on earth = 2260 ... +/- about 1-4%
    If more than 5000 I will eat my hard drive

OK ... So how many "real" scientists are there?

This is hard to say. If we are talking about hard core, actually working scientists doing "real" cutting edge, non-industrial research ... maybe 2-3 thousand? ... about the same as the fringe people.

Industrial (hired by business) ... plenty ... 50-100 thousand.
Mathematicians ... quarter million?
Engineers ... half million?

There are also on this planet perhaps as many a 50 million people who are sufficiently interested in scientific subjects to want to read about progress and new ideas when the "press" informs them that something important has occured (witness the martian lander page hit totals, i.e. millions). But they won't do any actual work in the subject.

B.Dalton and Waldebooks shows just how much interest in science there is in this country (USA)... the most technically advanced. In Waldenbooks you will find one stack of books under "science" ... one stack 4 feet wide by 4-5 shelfs high. In B.Dalton there is no "science" shelf. You look under "nature" and find 16 books mixed in with James Harriot's Dog Stories. In Barnes & Noble there are 1-3 hefty stacks ... but then Barnes is a real hefty store.
These are real loose estimates just to show you that scientific subjects hold little interest (because they require much thought, attention and dare we say "internal fortitude"?).

In the final analysis about one million people are carrying the intellectual load for 6 billion. I should expect the percentage to be much greater ... about 100 million for 6 billion. The place of the missing 99 million is taken up by false intellectuals ... people who claim the mantle of reason yet have no original ideas of their own to show ... no objective intellectual accomplishments ... no proofs of intellectual competence in the real world of nature. Most of 'em are the

"people's intellectuals"

movie stars, politicians, sex therapists, talk show hosts, television "anal-ysts", etc.



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